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She’s Playing Hardball

, , , , | Right | February 26, 2021

I am working at a retail portrait studio. A woman brings her young son in for an appointment and I’m going over the details of their session.

Customer: “…and then I want a picture of him throwing a baseball at the camera.”

I know we have a foam baseball available, so I agree, and we get started. I hand the little boy the foam baseball.

Customer: “No! It has to be this one!”

She hands the ball to her little boy.

Me: “Ma’am, that is a real baseball. I can’t let him throw that toward the camera.”

Customer: “Oh, relax, it’ll be fine! Throw it, [Child]!”

He throws it, but I have to put the camera down and duck out of the way.

Customer: “You missed it!”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m serious. I could get hurt, you could get hurt, the equipment could get damaged… I can’t let him throw the baseball at the camera.”

Customer: “He’s not even three yet; he can’t throw that hard! It’ll be fine!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we cannot do it. He can hold the ball, but if you want him to throw a ball, it has to be the foam one.”

She calls me a name under her breath, but I choose to let it slide.

Customer: “Fine. I guess you don’t care about serving the customer. We can let him hold it only, but you can bet I’ll be leaving a negative review!”

She hands him the real baseball and I pick the camera back up and get ready to photograph again. She waits until I’ve taken a couple of pictures of him holding it.

Customer: “Okay, now throw it, baby!”

He throws the ball at me as hard as he can, and his little aim is dead on. He breaks the lens hood on the camera, sending it flying back into my face and giving me a black eye.

Customer: “Did you get it? Tell me you got it!”

Me: “No, ma’am, our session is over.” 

Customer: “What?! I had a whole other outfit!”

Me: “No. The camera is broken and now I have to fill out an incident report.”

I get up and exit the room, and she follows me, screaming.

Customer: “I’m not leaving without my pictures! I want to finish the session!”

I am trying really hard to stay calm, but I’m literally shaking as I speak.

Me: “I am ending the session. Your images will be sent to our corporate office so they can assess this violation of our safety procedures. They will contact you if they can release the photos.”

Customer: “You f****** b****! I will have your job!”

Me: *Putting my hand on the phone* “If you don’t leave, I’ll have to call security.”

It turned out that I didn’t have to call them. The woman started screaming bloody murder — seriously, horror movie loud — and the optical department next door called for me. Security escorted the woman and her bewildered son out of the store. She never got her pictures. I felt so bad for the poor kid, who didn’t do anything but try to listen to his mother’s directions. I hope he turned out okay.

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Well, It’s Certainly Memorable, Part 2

, , , , | Working | September 23, 2020

I am the author of this story. About six months after I stop working with this person, I receive a call from one of the higher-ups of the company asking me to come back and work for them with a promotion and 30% raise. It’s a hard offer to pass up. I meet with my former district manager — [Former Boss]’s boss — for lunch to discuss how the transition would work. 

District Manager: “So, it wouldn’t be the same thing you were doing before, but we can get you up to speed on the changes.”

Me: “That sounds great, and I’d like to come back as long as the support system is in place.”

District Manager: “Yes, we can get [Former Coworker] to help out.”

Me: *Incredulous* “[Former Coworker]?”

District Manager: “Yes, she was promoted to another location a couple of months ago.” 

Me: “Is [Former Coworker #2] still around?” 

District Manager: “What happened? How’s your relationship with [Former Coworker]?”

I pause. I think about deflecting. I think about lying. Then, I decide I don’t owe her anything.

Me: “Honestly, it’s terrible.”

District Manager: “What happened?”

Me: “Well, [Former Boss] hired and paid her to be my videographer when I got married. After jerking me around for a year and a half, she finally admitted to losing all my reception footage. I never even got an apology. So, if I have a choice, I’d prefer to work with [Former Coworker #2].”

District Manager: “Oh, my God. I knew she could be flaky, but that is unbelievable. Don’t worry; I’ll make sure you’re working with someone else.”

To be honest, I felt a little guilty about ratting her out to her big boss, even though I knew it wouldn’t lead to any repercussions for her. Maybe I am a vengeful person. But the triumph of being perfectly frank about her behavior was so, so sweet.

Well, It’s Certainly Memorable

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Their Timing Is Very Photosensitive

, , , , , | Right | July 16, 2020

I work in a small photography studio. One of our duties opening first thing in the morning is to print the updated session list and call the clients to confirm their appointments; if a client cannot be reached to confirm, their session is canceled.

It’s Easter Sunday and my manager and I are the only two working a short shift for the holiday. We call all the clients. Only one does not answer, so we leave a message and remind them that we close early and failure to call back and confirm cancels their appointment.

It’s now thirty minutes from our closing time and that client has since missed their appointment with no return call. Since no one is scheduled to come in, and no walk-ins have arrived all day, my manager gives me the okay to start closing down the shop while she takes off early.

As I am closing the till, I see a group of around eighteen people walking in the door.

Me: “Sorry, guys, we’re closing early for the holiday.”

Older Woman: “But we have an appointment.”

Me: “What is your name and what time was your appointment scheduled?”

Older Woman: “It’s under [No Answer Client] and our appointment was at [three and a half hours earlier].

Me: “I’m sorry, but you never returned our confirmation call, and you missed your appointment time.”

Older Man: “But we are here now. We had to wait for family coming in from the airport.”

I called my manager to explain and she told me to go ahead with the job, while my family waited for me at home. The clients didn’t even buy anything that day.

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Bumping Heads

, , , , , | Right | June 19, 2020

A lady in her late fifties comes in with an old photo she would like restored and prints made from. While I’m looking at it, she sees a framed maternity portrait I had shot hanging on the wall. This is a very modest portrait; the mom-to-be is wearing a full-length skirt and a white cotton shirt with just her belly showing out. The only skin visible is her face, arms below the elbow, and belly; it’s definitely “G” rated.

Client: “How dare you have that picture hanging there; it’s disgusting!”

Me: “Which one?”

Client: “That horrible one with the belly hanging out! It is immoral!”

Me: “Maternity portraits are very popular; a lot of women want to capture that special time in their lives with a tastefully done session.”

Client: “It is not tasteful; it is disgusting and filthy!”

Just because I don’t want to deal with her anymore, my yet-to-be said price for the work she wants done goes from $40 to $125 in the hopes she will leave. To my surprise, she agrees to the price and leaves the work for me to do.

She comes back a few days later to pick up the finished restoration.

Client: “Why is that still hanging there? I told you it was disgusting; you should take it down or you’ll lose business!”

I am trying to be diplomatic and get her out the door.

Me: “Well, I’ve been busy and don’t have anything else ready to put up right now.”

Client: “I am horrified about that photo! We have standards in this community!”

Me: “Sorry, the mom-to-be loved the portrait. People tell me all the time how much they like it. I’ve gotten many bookings for similar sessions in the area… so the community that I consider my clients belonging to likes them.”

The client is now furious.

Client: “How dare you expose me and the innocent minds of children to such pornographic photos! That slut doesn’t mind showing her disgusting flesh to the world from her sin-filled shame but I don’t have to look at it! I would never be so disgusting to let the world see me like that!”

The model is a friend of mine who spent years with her husband trying to conceive a child and they are two of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I look at the customer, look down and up, and then make strong eye contact.

Me: “You are in no danger of ever being asked by me to model, so no need to worry about it.”

Her head almost exploded; she grabbed her photo and stormed out. It is good owning the place and being able to decide that there are just some people who I really don’t care if they ever come back. And as a bonus, any friends of hers aren’t the kind of clients I want, either.

This story has been included in our June 2020 roundup as one of that month’s most memorable stories!

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The More You Read, The Worse It Gets

, , , , | Right | April 12, 2020

(It is the middle of the day and nothing is going on. A woman comes into our store in a panic.)

Customer: “Do you do passport pictures?”

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “Okay, I need it done, and I need it done now.”

Me: “Okay. We can get you checked in and take you back.”

Customer: “No, I need it now.”

Me: “We can take you now.”

Customer: “And how long will it take for the pictures to be ready?”

Me: “About ten minutes, maximum fifteen. They’ll be at the front if you want to do other shopping and get them on your way out.”

Customer: “No, that’s not good enough. I need them now. Can’t you make it faster?”

Me: “With all due respect, ten to fifteen minutes is pretty fast. That’s the process from start to finish. All photos take five minutes to come through the printer, and that can’t be changed.”

Customer: “Okay, is there anyone else nearby who can do it quicker? I really need them now!”

Me: “[Store #1] and [Store #2] also do passports, but they’re on the other end of the mall. They’ll take about the same time to get it to you if not longer, and like I said, they’re on the other end of the mall.”

Customer: “Ugh, never mind! You don’t understand. I need it done now! My flight leaves in half an hour!”

(She storms away in a huff. My coworker and I look at each other trying to process what she said. A few minutes later, she returns.)

Customer: “How do you get to [Airport about two hours away]?!”

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